Hands on Knees - Recover!

September 10th 2019

What are the Best Recovery Positions to Practice – A Perspective

No matter the level at which you play, being able to recover as much as possible during exercise plays a huge role in performance. With soccer being a mainly aerobic sport, with bouts of anaerobic efforts, being able to get oxygen into the body quickly can help lead to faster recovery and thus, greater opportunity to perform.

You often see players being told to “stand up tall” or “hands on your head” when breathing heavily after particularly hard activity (unfortunately too often after being made to run laps) however, it may actually be the case that hands on knees in between exercise can promote a greater, or faster, recovery.

Research by Michaelson et al (2019) compared hands on head (HH) recovery against hands on knees (HK) in college level soccer players and found improved heart rate recovery in the HK group after interval running.

The authors note that their results may be because the diaphragm may be more efficient when a player is bent over with their hands on their knees and therefore able to not only get oxygen in quicker, but also remove waste products faster. 

Recovery needs a multi faceted approach, just like technical skill development and being able to challenge the old ideas or methods is key to moving performance forward.   Just because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”, doesn’t mean its still the right way! 


Michaelson, J.V.,Brilla, L.R.,Suprak, D.N., McLaughlin, W.L. &Dahlquist, D.T. (2019) Effects of two different recovery postures during high intensity interval training,Translational Journal of the ACSM,23-27.

Lee Cullip